It was quiet and peaceful. The cows were grazing and the sun was taking its time setting into the western skyline.
Out of seemingly nowhere a woman appeared, stumbling through the knee-high grass, bloody and tightly clutching something around her neck.
The cows glanced up but continued eating. This woman was familiar. A child of about six years of age jumped down from a nearby tree and started running frantically to the woman, who by this point had fallen to the ground.
The child started to speak but was hushed by the woman. She took the little girl's hand and placed the article around her own neck in the open palm.
Before the child could look up in surprise, the woman was dead. The child cried and eventually, long after the sun went down, fell asleep on her mother's corpse, still clutching the article.
7 YEARS LATER
I tried my best to be comfortable, but the train kept jolting. I looked around. Other people seemed to have no problem with it. What was I thinking, the jolting wasn't the problem, it was my nervousness.
6 days prior, I had been helping the stablehand at my rich aunt and uncle's farm (where I live since 7 years ago my mother died) feed the horses when my older by 4 years cousin Brenda ran in.
"Addy! My mom and dad want to talk to you in the parlor right now!"
I pretty much dropped everything I was doing and followed her.
We ran across the freshly trimmed grass that shimmered in the sunny but cold September day to the giant estate. When we got to the parlor, I sat in the armchair vertical to my uncle and diagonal to my aunt. Brenda stood at the doorway waiting for us to proceed.
"Brenda?" said Aunt Jenny. "This is private."
"Oh uh sorry!" Brenda said, embarrassed and closed the double doors.
"May I ask what this is about?" I said. I was nervous then too.
Uncle Carter's stern look changed into a ecstatic smile. "You got accepted to B.S.T.!"
My jaw dropped. "By B.S.T. do you mean the British School of Talent, located in rural England, the best and most exclusive and also pricey school EVER?!"
"Uh huh!" said Jenny, rushing over to hug me. I made it a warm embrace.
"How did this happen? I didn't even fill out an application!"
Carter gave a wide smile. "I did it last month." I rushed over to embrace him as well.
"But they haven't even seen my talents!"
"Addy, please! We videotaped all of your judo tournaments as well as gymnastics!" said Aunt Jenny.
"And Merissa, one of the gardeners videotaped you singing while planting some hydrangeas!" added Uncle Carter.
I was too happy to be mad or embarrassed. "Can I see the letter?" I wanted to make sure this wasn't a joke.
"Sure, sure." he handed me a thick manila envelope. Sure enough, I had been accepted.
"We can go now to get your supplies if you like." said Aunt Jenny.
"Alright, let me go change out of these work clothes."
As I headed to the double doors, Uncle Carter added "You leave next Thursday."
I opened them and rounded the corner to go to the stairs. Brenda and her twin niece and nephew, Mackenzie and Micheal blocked the way.
"I'm so happy for you!" said Brenda giving me a tight hug. I was surprised at this since 4 years ago she herself put in an application but was denied.
"You rock Addy!" said Mackenzie. The 5 year old gave me a high five.
They parted to let me go upstairs. And there I am 6 days later, already been on this infuriating train for over 24 hours. I got on 8:00 am Thursday and we are supposed to be in New York at 9:00 Friday.
I looked around for a clock but didn't see one. A man across the aisle from me who was reading Twilight had a watch.
"Excuse me sir... do you know what time it is?"
He looked at me, annoyed. "You have a pocket watch around your neck! Check that and stop bothering me!"
I looked down at the golden pocket watch around my neck. It had been mother's and was the last gift to me before she died. For some reason, I got a weird feeling whenever I opened it.
"Uh..I doesn't work."
He sighed and looked at his watch. "It's 8:30 pm. Happy?"
"Yes, thank you." I leaned over and opened up my carry on bag. I pulled out the manila folder and decided to keep reading about B.S.T.
The British School of Talent
To the family of: Adaline Mayer
Your family member has been accepted to the British School of Talent and identified in these areas:
~ mixed martial arts
Please have her ready at 8:00 am Central time on Thursday, September 1st to board the train departing to New York State where she will stop at 9:00 pm and board the plane to London at 10:00 pm. She will land in London at 5:15 am Central time, same for 24 hour time system. A tour like bus will be waiting for her with a specific number to take her to the private grounds of B.S.T.
Bus number: 12
All tickets will be enclosed in this packet, already paid for by student fees and/or tuition.
Please have your family member accustomed to our time system if not already.
Also enclosed in this packet will be the student handbook, school map, student ID, expression notebook (explained below), supply list, uniform (please iron), and student cell. (Also explained below.)
Expression notebook: Each student gets a 70 sheet notebook coordinating with their grade colour [1st year (green) 2nd year (blue) 3rd year (purple) 4th year (red) 5th year (orange)] to write down and keep track of all the personal information as well as keep a diary. We hope these years at B.S.T. will be life changing and stick with you forever.
Student Cell: The student cell is a cell phone with a private network only for faculty and students to communicate easier so they don't have to be running around our expansive campus. They are for school-related subject matter ONLY. Text messages and calls will be monitored to ensure maximum safety and security.
There is also a student-ran website by the technologically identified for gossip and whatever, much like Facebook though it is only for the students at this school. The faculty do not monitor this, but the techs do. If anything is too mature or mean, they report it to the administration.
Proceeding that was all the rules and everything enclosed neatly and in plastic bags to insure no damage when being delivered. Though speaking English was required, students from all across the world came to B.S.T.
I took out my expression notebook and started filling in some of the information. Some of it was already filled in.
Name: Addy Mayer
Birthday: October 4
Grade: 7 (1st year)
ID Number: 6746289
After that were more questions, but I stopped because I had reached New York. I got off the train with all of my luggage and got in a taxi to the airport with a much older girl going to B.S.T. who seemed much more interested in her phone than anything else.
I sighed and looked out the window, even more nervous for what was about to come.